The chance to bag that elusive mature trophy stag makes the Roar the most exciting time of the hunting year. However, it is also the time where the risk of hunting-related accidents is at its highest, which is why we want everyone to make good decisions, be safe and look after your mates this Roar.

Looking after your mates means making sure that everyone in your hunting party is well-prepared:

  1. Before you go, keep an eye on the weather forecast – particularly for any rain and snow that could lead to a rise in river levels – and make your plans accordingly.
  2. Make sure everyone has the right clothing, food and equipment for all possible conditions.
  3. Take into account the experience and fitness of everyone in your party when planning your trip.
  4. Know where you are going, make sure you carry a map, know how to read it and leave detailed intentions with friends and whanau.
  5. Carry an emergency communication device such as a distress beacon or satellite phone.

When out on the hill you can look after your mates by:

  1. Involving your whole party in the decision-making and making sure everyone is comfortable with the plans being made.
  2. Taking firearm safety seriously, because even if you are hunting alone it is highly likely that other hunters will be around.
  3. Positively identifying your target. It is not good enough to ‘think’ what you are looking at it is a big stag, you need to ‘know’ it is.
  4. Treating every firearm as loaded and if you are sharing a firearm, make sure the person carrying the firearm maintains responsibility for checking it is in the appropriate state of load.
  5. If you are bush hunting it is a good idea for everyone in the party to wear blaze.

For more on firearm safety, check out the Seven Firearms Safety Rules.

We also strongly encourage hunters to target old mature stags during this year’s Roar. Look for those key indicators such as a filled-out heavy body, sagging neck, scruffy face, low head position and no visible pedicles.

Leaving younger animals to realise their full potential will improve the chances of coming across that big old mature stag in the future. If you are after some meat animals, target hinds. In this way we can create a better quality, healthier herd as well as looking after our native species. For more on why this is important go to Looking After Our Game Animals.

You can read our media release on the upcoming roar here.